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Six head-on pink shrimp are lined up on a plate with the Lluritu logo. Gerard Moral

The 38 Essential Restaurants in Barcelona

Where to find Mediterranean seafood, crisp paella, perfect tapas, and aged steaks carved tableside in the Catalan capital

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From Barcelona’s towering churches and bustling avenues to the sun-drenched beaches and idyllic plazas, it’s obvious why this city captures visitors’ hearts and refuses to let go. As befits the city’s Mediterranean lifestyle, you can eat incredibly well here, and often for not very much money. (Though Barcelona loves a pricey tasting menu, too.) But it’s also too easy to have a downright disappointing meal if you settle for any old paella-slinging bar along Les Rambles (known in Spanish as La Rambla) or La Barceloneta.

This map will steer visitors toward sure-fire success in the overwhelming world of Barcelona dining. Obvious essentials like pintxos and paella are included (both great but neither entirely Catalan), but be sure to seek out local gems like natural wines, seasonal seafood, home-style stews, and artisan vermouth, as well wood-oven shawarmas, rotisserie chickens, Japanese steaks, craft beers, Malaysian curries, and and world-class cocktails, followed by 3 a.m. churros and chocolate to soak up the booze and put you to bed. This list of 38 essential food experiences is just the tip of the iceberg, though it offers a great variety of food (and prices), from the all-stars of Catalan cuisine to numerous tastes of the growing international food scene in Barcelona.

Update fall, 2021:

Throughout 2020, Barcelona went through various stages of lockdown, including a complete ban on indoor dining that lasted months, and was relaxed then reinstated. Though some restaurants that relied heavily on foreign visitors have had to close permanently, many of the local favorites were able to hold on thanks to increased demand for takeaway and delivery services. Now, heading into the fall, indoor dining and operating hours are almost back to a glorious degree of normal in the city.

Note: The inclusion of restaurants offering dine-in service should not be taken as an endorsement for dining inside. Studies indicate a lower exposure risk to COVID-19 outdoors, but the level of risk is contingent on social distancing and other safety guidelines. Check with each restaurant for up-to-date information on dining offerings. For updated information on coronavirus cases in Barcelona, please visit the city council website or Spain’s COVID data portal.

Prices per person, excluding alcohol
$ = Less than 15 euros (less than $18 USD)
$$ = 16 - 39 euros ($19 - $45 USD)
$$$ = 40 - 66 euros ($46 - $76 USD)
$$$$ = More than 66 euros ($76 USD and up)


Sam Zucker is a freelance writer, photographer, filmmaker, travel Instagrammer, and gastronomic tour guide in Barcelona. He has contributed to Monocle, National Geographic’s “48 Hours” guides, Culture Trip, and Vice Travel, among others.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Maitea Taberna

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C. Casanova, 157
Barcelona, Catalonia
(+34) 934-395107
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Pintxos are famous, toothpick­-spiked bar snacks of the Basque region. While you’ll find locals packing in to the affordable tapas and pintxo bars along Carrer de Blai, Maitea Taberna is widely considered one of the best Basque pintxo bars in the city. The restaurant offers authentic ambiance, an extensive menu of hot and cold pintxos and plates, and fair prices. The cold, self­-serve pintxos are great, but don’t miss ordering some hot pintxos off the a la carte menu. The morcilla de durgos (black pudding with rice) with apple purée is especially great. [$]

2. Disfrutar

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Villaroel 163
Barcelona, Catalonia
(+34) 933-486896
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This restaurant has climbed steadily to the top of Barcelona's fine dining pyramid. Since the chef-owners, veterans of the El Bulli kitchen, opened Disfrutar in Barcelona in 2014, it has earned and maintained two Michelin stars. The modern Mediterranean cuisine and elegant service make for an unmissable experience. [$$$$]

3. Morro Fi

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C. Consell de Cent, 171
Barcelona, Catalonia

Barcelona’s obsession with vermouth is proof that trends move in circles. What was first popular around 1900 has reemerged in the past decade as the city’s most popular aperitivo once more. Bittersweet and served on ice, garnished with an olive and orange slice, vermut negre will pleasantly surprise you, and Morro Fi is the perfect place to give it a try. The petite vermouth bar serves small bites like cured and pickled anchovies, hard cheeses, marinated mussels, and thick-­cut, house-­made potato chips (best when doused in red “aperitivo sauce”). [$]

4. BierCaB

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Carrer de Muntaner, 55
08011 Barcelona, Spain

BierCab has a rotating selection of draft beer flowing from 30 taps and an international bottle list so staggeringly extensive that it borders on intimidating, so there’s likely no better place in town for lovers of craft beer. As if the tremendous selection isn’t enough, BierCab has a full kitchen, offering tapas, sandwiches, burgers, lighter plates, and main courses (a rarity in Barcelona, where many craft beer bars have a small menu of basic snacks). Try the extra-spicy patatas biercab potatoes, or the grilled wagyu steak with a house-made, hop-spiked chimichurri. [$] 

5. Bar Ramón

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Carrer del Comte Borrell, 81
08015 Barcelona, Spain
+34 933 25 02 83
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A busy, neighborhood bar with a kitsch 1950s rock and roll theme, Bar Ramón has been a local go­-to since 1939. Famous for signature dishes like seared foie gras with beef filet on toast, as well as classic tapas like croquettes and gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), Bar Ramón is a place where you can eat very well on the cheap. Reservations are recommended, but can only be made by phone or in person. [$$]

crowded wood-paneled bar and restaurant Sam Zucker

6. Restaurante Mano Rota

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Carrer de la Creu dels Molers, 4
08004 Barcelona, Spain

Chef Bernat Bermudo pays homage to his Catalan upbringing with careful treatment of local products and riffs on traditional dishes, while also drawing heavy culinary inspiration from his wife’s native Peru, where indigenous, Chinese, and Japanese flavors are combined freely. Pick and choose from the likes of pork jowl ds with corn, pears, and miso; soft-shell crab ceviche; and lobster stew with buckwheat udon and steamed egg yolk. [$$$]

7. Els Sortidors del Parlament

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C. Parlament, 53
Barcelona, Catalonia
+34 934 41 16 02

Found on the restaurant-­rich street of Carrer del Parlament, this classic­-meets-­modern bodega (any wine shop that also sells food and drink for on-site enjoyment) stands out in the Sant Antoni neighborhood. Enjoy a glass of wine from the shop's old barrels, which the business also “a granel” (by the liter), vermouth, and various craft beers; snack on tapas and Catalan dishes; or just browse the gourmet shop. There is a little something wonderful here for everyone. [$$]

A wooden table with a plate of tapas on it, alongside two glasses of vermouth with olive and orange slices skewered in them Sam Zucker

8. LomoAlto

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Carrer d'Aragó, 283
08009 Barcelona, Spain
+34 93 519 30 00
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In this pork-centric region, beef doesn’t usually play a starring role on menus, which makes Lomo Alto even more special. This meat destination is really without compare when it comes to dry-aging, with a massive Leonese ox hanging above the reception area that’s well into its 500-day aging journey. Each cut of meat is meticulously catalogued and labeled with the age and breed, and the steaks are cooked with precision over charcoal flames on custom-made Josper grills. For a special occasion, spring for a 150-day-aged Rubia Gallega T-bone steak, carved tableside. [$$$$]

9. Restaurante Martínez

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Ctra. de Miramar, 38
Barcelona, Catalonia
(+34) 931-066052
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There are plenty of places to try paella in Barcelona, but Martínez is the move. Perched on the side of Montjuïc with a panoramic view of the city and port, Martínez is far removed from the hubbub of the beach district. Famous rice dishes like the señorito paella — garnished with peeled and shelled seafood, which keeps fingers clean — and the decadent lobster rice, as well as classic tapas and an inviting oyster bar, should justify the journey. [$$]

10. Rocambolesc

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La Rambla, 51-59
08002 Barcelona, Spain

Over the years, Joan, Josep, and Jordi Roca have transformed their family restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca, into a frequent list-topper among the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. But they’re not so serious all the time. Jordi, the dessert mastermind of the group, is also behind the whimsical and wildly popular Rocambolesc ice cream shop, which offers gourmet scoops worthy of their Michelin-star fame, as well as ice cream pops in a variety of cheeky forms. Look for the Rocanas, a strawberry sorbet popsicle in the shape of Jordi’s famous oversized nose, or the icePhone is an edible iPhone made of yogurt, licorice, and lime. [$]

11. Flax & Kale

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Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt, 31
08003 Barcelona, Spain

Of the multiple Flax and Kale locations in Barcelona, Flax and Kale Passage is by far the best. It’s open all day and great for a weekend brunch. The menu is also distinct from the others and includes the company’s astonishingly good wood-fired vegan pizzas (that also happen to be gluten-free). Chef Teresa Carles has been pioneering “flexitarian” food in Barcelona since 2014, and other highlights of her menu include bao stuffed with jackfruit “pulled pork,” house-made spicy chai kombucha, and vegan scrambles made with ackee. There are also some fish dishes, like black cod with bok choy and black garlic dashi, and yellowfin tuna tacos with Chinese cabbage and chipotle for those craving some extra omega-3s. [$$]

12. Nømad Coffee Lab & Shop

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Ptge. Sert, 12
Barcelona, Catalonia
(+34) 628-566235
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Nømad Coffee founder Jordi Mestre has been instrumental in ushering in the new era of specialty coffee in the city. Nømad is a coffee roaster and coffee shop, and its original location on the picturesque Passatge Sert is aptly dubbed the “coffee lab.” Visit on weekday mornings for an expertly pulled, freshly roasted espresso. The company's second location in Poble Nou is larger and houses the roasting outfit, in addition to a cafe with more seating than the downtown location. And at the Roaster’s Home you can partake in coffee “cuppings” (tastings) every Friday at 4 p.m. [$]

13. Fismuler

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Carrer del Rec Comtal, 17
08003 Barcelona, Spain

Fismuler Barcelona is the highly acclaimed result of three chefs’ shared professional passion and friendship. Nino Redruello, Patxi Zumárraga, and Jaime Santianes met in the kitchen of the legendary El Bulli in 2002, and while their careers took them on their own unique paths, they reunited at Fismuler. The restaurant is stylish and modern, with exposed brick, bare wood, and stone tiles that blur the line between the city street outside and the interior of the dining room, separated solely by a huge wall of glass. The food has clear Spanish roots, but also strays north and west, with Provençal pate and burrata with black truffle. Dishes like the ortiguillas (sea anemone) omelet and delicate semi-cured dorada (gilt head bream) with grapes and almonds are superb modern takes on Spanish classics, and the service is as informal as possible to avoid pretension while still offering a refined culinary experience. [$$$]

14. Bar Brutal

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C. Princesa, 14
Barcelona, Catalonia
(+34) 933-199881
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In front is a shop and wine bar called Can Cisa, and in the back you'll find this full-service, wine-centric restaurant from twin Venetian chefs Max and Stefano Colombo. The menu combines Italian and Catalan cuisine, with an array of salty, sweet, rich, and acidic small plates, ranging from grilled octopus with pickles and beet puree to smoked sardines with apple relish. These aren’t your average tapas. All of the wine is natural, and many bottles are also biodynamic and organic. The well-trained waiters can guide any diner — from a wine novice to seasoned connoisseur — to a new, enlightened pairing for a meal. [$$]

15. Bar La Plata

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Carrer de la Mercè, 28
08002 Barcelona, Spain
+34 933 15 10 09
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This small corner bar just one block from the old port of Barcelona has been serving the same four dishes since 1945. Though the salted anchovies, fried sausage, and tomato salad are all delicious, the floured and fried boquerones (anchovies) are the true star. Now run by the grandson of the original founder, Bar La Plata sells over 40 kg of the little fishes per week. The place is nearly always busy and only has a few tables, so do as the crowds do and eat standing up at the bar or even in the street if no seats are available. [$]

16. El Chigre 1769

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Carrer dels Sombrerers, 7
08003 Barcelona, Spain

Asturias and Catalunya are starkly different in culture and landscape, but at El Chigre 1769, the two cuisines exist in sumptuous harmony. Part vermuteria (vermouth bar), part sidreria (cider bar), El Chigre is housed in an ancient stone building from 1769 and offers products of Asturian fame — from spanking-fresh Atlantic shellfish to cave-aged cabrales blue cheese — alongside beloved Catalan dishes like esqueixada (chilled bacalao salad) and a charcoal-roasted Pyrenees pork knuckle for two. When merriment ensues and your cider misses the glass (as it’s known to do), not to fear; the floor is blanketed with sawdust, in classic fashion, to soak up every errant drop. [$$]

17. Bodega La Puntual

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C. Montcada, 22
Barcelona, Catalonia
(+34) 933-103545
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A welcome sight in the busy area around the Passeig del Born, Bodega La Puntual does what many restaurants here can’t — offer excellent food and service in a touristy area while maintaining its local charm and providing plenty of seating. For a pre-dinner bite, pull up a stool to the wine-barrel tables near the entrance and enjoy some cava and oysters. Head to the back dining room for a full meal of tapas and seasonal Catalan dishes like sauteed wild mushrooms, flour-dusted fried squid, grilled sausages, and traditional tortillas (potato omelets) prepared as they should be: made to order. [$$]

18. El Xampanyet

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C. Montcada, 22
Barcelona, Catalonia
(+34) 933-197003
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Dating back to the 1920s and brimming with character, from the tiled walls and vintage wine bottle collection to the boisterous crowds and taciturn barmen, El Xampanyet is well known with both locals and tourists as an excellent place for an authentic aperitivo. It's ideal for a glass of cava, some house­cured salted anchovies, an assortment of conservas, and a sample of whatever hot dishes are on the day’s menu. Squeeze in the door and prepare for standing room only. [$]

Busy bar crowded with men and women waiting for drinks Sam Zucker

19. Restaurant Estimar

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Carrer de Sant Antoni dels Sombrerers, 3
Barcelona, Catalonia
(+34) 679-363915
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Prepare yourself for some of the best seafood in the city, but be ready to pay for it. The menu features a number of sharing dishes, such as the exquisite razor clams stewed in citrus and the fried baby squid in ink-tinted aioli, but the main attraction is the cornucopia of fresh seafood laid on ice in the dining room for all to see. This is your chance to try rare luxury items like angulas (baby eels) and percebes (gooseneck barnacles), as well as whole roasted fish, steamed clams, and grilled prawns of the most pristine quality. [$$$$]

20. ElDiset

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C. Antic de Sant Joan, 3
Barcelona, Catalonia
(+34) 932-681987
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This wine bar at the heart of bohemian neighborhood El Born is perfect for a date night or an evening with friends. A list of some 20 Catalan wines by the glass and a varied offering of torrades (open-­faced sandwiches) on deliciously crisp bread make for a perfectly chic yet ­casual meal. Try the torrada of black sausage, cured cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and tangy orange vinaigrette, with a glass of full­-bodied red from local region Priorat. Often very busy, ElDiset's energy level begins to rise around 9 p.m. and carries well into the evening. [$$]

Inside an elegant restaurant with shelves of wine bottles rising high above a bar Sam Zucker

21. Churrería J. Argilés

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Carrer de la Marina, 107
08018 Barcelona, Spain
+34 93 232 4307

Founded in 1958 by José Argilés, president of the Guild of Artisan Churro Makers, this kiosk is a Barcelona icon and the perfect place to get classic churros with hot chocolate. Open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays to cater to the hoards exiting the nearby nightclub, Razzmatazz, this is the perfect place to soak up the booze that fueled your night. (It also sells French fries with ketchup and mayonnaise if fried dough isn’t your thing.) For a less rowdy experience, stop by any afternoon to enjoy your churros in peace. [$]

White paper cone filled with churros, held by a woman’s outstretched arms Sam Zucker

22. Can Solé

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C. Sant Carles, 4
Barcelona, Catalonia
(+34) 932-215012
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Originally a shop selling sundries and soaps at the turn of the 20th century, Can Solé was converted into a restaurant in 1903 and has been satisfying lovers of local seafood and rice ever since. Enjoy a classic seafood paella or the Catalan favorite arròs caldós (brothy rice) with your choice of shrimp, sea urchin, mussels, lobster, or more. [$$$]

23. Cova Fumada

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Baluard, 56
Barcelona, Catalonia
(+34) 932-214061

One of the oldest restaurants in the beachside neighborhood of La Barceloneta, this is the birthplace of the famous “bomba de la Barceloneta” — a mouth­watering fried mashed-potato croquette, stuffed with savory ground beef and topped with aioli and hot sauce, which now appears on menus all over the city. In addition to the bombas, try the calamars a la planxa (grilled squid) and grilled sardines (in season in summer). If you’re adventurous, add a plate of Cap i Pota, an old-­school Catalan stew of tripe, veal trotters, and veal head in tomato. [$$]

24. Lluritu

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Carrer del Torrent de les Flors, 71
08024 Barcelona, Spain

Lluritu shrugs off the classic formality of upscale marisquerias (seafood restaurants) to offer exceptional seafood without frills. Bare marble tables at the lively hub are crowded with short cañas of cold beer and heaping platters of grilled razor clams, sea scallops, langoustines, and mussels, as well as plates of smoked eel and tomato salad, and glistening oysters shucked to order. The house specialty is lorito (Lluritu is a Catalanized play on the name, but the small fish is known as pearly razorfish in English). Only in season from September to March, the tender fish is lightly fried and served with a simple side of seasonal vegetables. Market prices for the local fishy delicacy can soar based on availability and demand, especially due to the fish’s recent popularity with Michelin-starred chefs in the region and recent measures to promote sustainable fishing. [$$]

A row of cooked prawns topped with big flaky salt on a dish bearing the restaurant name to one side Gerard Moral

25. Direkte Boqueria

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Carrer de les Cabres, 13
08001 Barcelona, Spain

With just eight seats at an L-shaped counter, Direkte Boqueria resembles an omakase-style sushi bar, which perfectly fits with the Catalan-Asian hybrid cuisine of esteemed local chef Arnau Muñío. This tiny restaurant, located on the edge of Barcelona’s famous Mercat de Sant Josep (better known as the La Boqueria market), serves hyper-local tasting menus with ingredients sourced from stalls just steps away. Muñio’s tenure cooking for some of Catalunya’s greatest fine dining chefs — from Carles Abellán to Albert Adrià — comes through in playful, nuanced dishes. Look for his spin on the traditional mar i muntanya (Catalan surf and turf) with Japanese-style braised pork belly and tender king crab meat, or the colorful flan de erizo (sea urchin custard) garnished with salmon roe and paper-thin okra rounds, with a subtle punch of wasabi. Reservations go quickly, so make sure to book well in advance. [$$$]

A ceramic bowl, a lid resting nearby, contains sea urchin and thin slices of spicy pepper Gerard Moral

26. Berbena

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Carrer de Minerva, 6
08006 Barcelona, Spain

Berbena is a popular addition to the blossoming world of chef-driven, modern Catalan cuisine in Barcelona. Grab one of the handful of tables, and begin your meal with hearty chunks of homemade sourdough bread smeared with rich, smoked butter. Then dive into the assortment of seasonal small plates featuring whatever is fresh that day, from grilled sea bass collar with preserved lemon to an omelette of wild mushrooms with roasted onions. Shellfish and other seafood are always in abundance, and vibrant vegetables often play a starring role in the nightly specials. The cheese selection is impressive, as is the selection of small-production wines from local vineyards. Linger over dessert as you enjoy excellent coffee from nearby SlowMov specialty roasters and espresso from the gleaming La Marzocco machine. [$$$]

A shallow bowl with a heap of razor clams beneath a pile of shelled peas Monica Burton

27. Boa-Bao

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Plaça del Dr. Letamendi, 1
08007 Barcelona, Spain

Born in Lisbon (Boa refers to Lisboa) and expanded to Barcelona, Boa Bao joins the trendy and vibrant slew of restaurants on Enrique Granados, a pedestrian street running through the center of the Eixample neighborhood. The menu casts a wide net encompassing most of Asia, with dishes from Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, and Japan. Some diners may be skeptical of a restaurant with such a vast geographic span, but consultant chefs from each country helped refine the recipes to honor traditional flavors and preparations for each dish. Menu choices range from Taiwanese style dim sum and Laotian duck larb, to crispy sea bass bao with pickled yellow radish and arguably the best pad thai in Barcelona. Creative cocktails and warm atmosphere keep the bar area busy until well past midnight on the weekends. [$$]

28. Bar Salvatge

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Carrer de Verdi, 50
08012 Barcelona, Spain

Located at the heart of the Gràcia neighborhood on the bustling Carrer Verdi, Bar Salvatge is a natural wine bar dedicated to “natural wines and wild wine makers.” They serve a rotating selection of unique wines, on draft or by the bottle, sourced locally and produced with limited artificial intervention. Pours cost a fraction of what they would in New York City or London, allowing diners who don’t typically like natural wines to try options until they find something that resonates. Pair your wine with a board of cured meats and cheese, or order a full meal from the selection of upscale tapas, salads, and sandwiches, all of which adhere to the restaurant’s Slow Food philosophy. [$]

A restaurant exterior, with a red-lit dining room, guests at tables, chalkboard menus, bar and wine bottles visible through large windows Gerard Moral

29. Parking Pita

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Passeig de Sant Joan, 56
08009 Barcelona, Spain

Parking Pita is tucked away in the corner of a former parking garage. The team uses a woodfired oven (shared by Parking Pizza in the back of the building) to bake fresh pitas for their popular falafel and shawarma sandwiches. The menu is packed with Israeli-inspired dishes, but also includes forays into North Africa and India. Zucchini latkes, Harissa-topped french fries, beet hummus, grilled leeks with smoked paprika, roasted cauliflower with curry, and classic shakshuka are all great starters. Next, move on to pita with your choice of falafel, tandoor chicken, sabih (eggplant with boiled eggs), charcoal-roasted lamb, or tender beef with ras el hanout. Diners sit at a long communal table and service is quick, making it a popular lunch spot for the neighborhood working crowd. [$]

30. Entrepanes Díaz

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Carrer de Pau Claris, 189
08037 Barcelona, Spain

Modeled after the classic cervecería bars of 1950s Madrid, Entrepanes Díaz is a modern-day throwback famous for gourmet sandwiches and traditional tapas. Owner Kim Díaz worked in the Spanish film industry before getting into the restaurant game, first with his famous upscale restaurant Bar Mut (across the street and also well worth a visit), then Entrepanes Díaz, and finally with MutiClub, a cocktail lounge and late night wine bar next door. The most popular sandwich on the menu is the Antxón, named for art director Antxón Gómez, one of Díaz’s contemporaries from his film days. A round bun is loaded with grilled chistorra sausage (like a thinner chorizo), a poached egg, and a pile of crispy, ultra-fine “straw cut” potatoes. Other popular dishes include a braised oxtail sandwich and a tapa of Andalusian-style fried cazón (dogfish) in adobo seasoning. Original, black and white photos of Spain’s golden era film stars line the walls, and white jacketed waiters exude old-school professionalism befitting the vintage decor. [$$]

31. Dr. Stravinsky

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Carrer dels Mirallers, 5
08003 Barcelona, Spain

You don’t just stumble upon Dr. Stravinsky while exploring the city, but the creative cocktail bar  was ranked No. 25 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list in 2019. It’s located on a nondescript corner down a dark Medieval street at the heart of El Born, one of Barcelona’s oldest neighborhoods. Mixologist and co-owner Antonio Naranjo runs the part saloon, part mad scientist’s laboratory, where the walls are lined with homemade infusions, bulbous glass vessels, and chemistry flasks. The cocktail menu is laid out graphically as a “galaxy” of tastes, with “planets” of flavors like dry, sweet, acidic, smoky, lactic, bitter, and more. A nebula of lines trace paths between the planets, with cocktails floating at crossroads where the lines overlap. Follow the threads from your two favorite flavors to find your ideal cocktail, or just ask the expert mixologists to surprise you. The bar is “sitting room only,” so expect a bit of a wait during prime weekend evening hours. [$$]

32. A Pluma

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Carrer de Santaló, 39
08021 Barcelona, Spain

There are few things as near and dear to the hearts of Catalans as a leisurely weekend lunch of rotisserie chicken. A Pluma, from former elBulli chef Eugeni de Diego, offers a spiffy version of pollastre a l’ast, a modern approach to the nostalgic staple. The half-chicken platter is the most popular order, served with the obligatory side of potatoes, roasted in the dripping tray of the charcoal-powered Josper rotisserie grill. Add a side of house curry or mole sauces if you’re feeling adventurous. Other menu highlights include a simple salad of marinated heirloom tomatoes with ribbons of leek, a paper cone of extra-crispy fried chicken tenders with fries, and a palate-cleansing piña balsámica for dessert (pineapple with mint, honey, and lime). [$$]

33. Bar Cañete

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Carrer de la Unió, 17
08001 Barcelona, Spain

A longtime favorite for a mix of modern and classic tapas, Bar Cañete is a quintessential Barcelona dining experience. Tables in the bustling dining room can be reserved for groups of four or more, but otherwise it’s first come, first serve. The best seating is along the bar at the gleaming open kitchen, where diners get up-close views of chefs at work and white-jacketed servers darting back and forth with bottles of cava and artful plates of hand-cut jamón. The menu of tapas and larger plates changes with the seasons, but don’t miss house specialties like giant red prawns that arrive daily from the docks, sea anemones with cured Iberian pork belly, and runny potato omelet. [$$]

Five small slices of bread topped with tomato mixture and large fried sardines on a long plate Gerard Moral

34. Benzina

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Passatge de Pere Calders, 6
08015 Barcelona, Spain

Owner Badr Bennis and head chef Nicola Valle were inspired by the freedom they found in New York’s creative Italian restaurants. At the upscale yet informal Benzina (“Gasoline” in Italian), housed in a former auto repair shop, they serve a menu of updated Italian classics, incorporating international influences, non-traditional ingredients, and colorful presentations. The atmosphere is more akin to a rock and roll bar than your typical red sauce spot. The menu is refreshed every couple of months, with dishes like cacio e pepe risotto with fried squid and mandarin reduction, Roman-style gnocchi with slow-cooked rabbit and kale, balsamic-roasted pork loin with maitake mushrooms, and confit eggplant parmesan topped with basil sorbet. [$$]

35. Kak Koy

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Carrer de Ripoll, 16
08002 Barcelona, Spain

Since the moment chef Hideki Matsuhisa, of Michelin-starred Koy Shunka, opened Kak Koy, Barcelona has been enamored with the relaxed atmosphere and accessible prices of this trendy Nippon-style Japanese grill. Diners are in for a lively and social experience, as most seats have a clear view of the open kitchen, and the communal tables are always packed. Cooks combine classic Japanese cuisine with French culinary techniques. House specialties like eggplant with miso and house-cured anchovies with tofu give way to spicy tuna hand rolls, grilled razor clams, traditional yakisoba, meaty roasted tuna collar, and succulent morsels of seared Wagyu short rib with yuzu chili salt. [$$$]

36. Proper BCN

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Carrer dels Banys Vells, 20
08003 Barcelona, Spain

Nearly everything on the menu at Proper BCN is touched in some way by the heat of the glowing wood-fired oven at the open kitchen’s center. Argentine chef Augusto Mayer combines the flavors of his homeland with the bounty of the Mediterranean. Starter plates lean vegetable-centric and are constantly changing with seasons. Share a spread of charred green beans with ricotta, slow-roasted leeks, and charred cauliflower followed by crispy-skinned sea bass with white beans, veal sweetbreads with green apple and mustard, and a massive rib-eye for two, roasted in a cast-iron pan set beside the fire. [$$$]

37. Sensato

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Carrer de Septimània, 36
08006 Barcelona, Spain

Chef Ryuta Sato built a name for himself at popular restaurant Sato i Tanaka before opening this tiny sushi bar with just eight seats specializing in omakase servings of super-premium sushi. With so few seats, scoring a reservation is a matter of planning your meal well in advance, but it’s worth the wait. Choose from either the long or short menu and savor each bite straight from chef Sato’s expert hands. [$$$]

38. Cinc Sentits

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C/ d'Entença, 60
08015 Barcelona, Spain

Despite the challenging year, chef Jordi Artal and his team celebrated a new milestone in December 2020: their second Michelin star. The tasting menus at Cinc Sentits (five senses) are full of modern interpretations of Catalan cuisine and are updated each season. Spring might bring artichoke or venison presented with bits of molecular flair (a spherification here, a powder there). But while Artal’s dishes are undoubtedly intricate and delicately composed, they also aren’t wanting for bold flavor or heartiness — a restaurant at this level shouldn’t leave you hungry. This one doesn’t. [$$$$]

An artful presentation of venison, with edible horns placed around a hunk of meat, with small vegetables fixings dusted with spice powder Jordi Artal

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1. Maitea Taberna

C. Casanova, 157, Barcelona, Catalonia

Pintxos are famous, toothpick­-spiked bar snacks of the Basque region. While you’ll find locals packing in to the affordable tapas and pintxo bars along Carrer de Blai, Maitea Taberna is widely considered one of the best Basque pintxo bars in the city. The restaurant offers authentic ambiance, an extensive menu of hot and cold pintxos and plates, and fair prices. The cold, self­-serve pintxos are great, but don’t miss ordering some hot pintxos off the a la carte menu. The morcilla de durgos (black pudding with rice) with apple purée is especially great. [$]

C. Casanova, 157
Barcelona, Catalonia

2. Disfrutar

Villaroel 163, Barcelona, Catalonia

This restaurant has climbed steadily to the top of Barcelona's fine dining pyramid. Since the chef-owners, veterans of the El Bulli kitchen, opened Disfrutar in Barcelona in 2014, it has earned and maintained two Michelin stars. The modern Mediterranean cuisine and elegant service make for an unmissable experience. [$$$$]

Villaroel 163
Barcelona, Catalonia

3. Morro Fi

C. Consell de Cent, 171, Barcelona, Catalonia

Barcelona’s obsession with vermouth is proof that trends move in circles. What was first popular around 1900 has reemerged in the past decade as the city’s most popular aperitivo once more. Bittersweet and served on ice, garnished with an olive and orange slice, vermut negre will pleasantly surprise you, and Morro Fi is the perfect place to give it a try. The petite vermouth bar serves small bites like cured and pickled anchovies, hard cheeses, marinated mussels, and thick-­cut, house-­made potato chips (best when doused in red “aperitivo sauce”). [$]

C. Consell de Cent, 171
Barcelona, Catalonia

4. BierCaB

Carrer de Muntaner, 55, 08011 Barcelona, Spain

BierCab has a rotating selection of draft beer flowing from 30 taps and an international bottle list so staggeringly extensive that it borders on intimidating, so there’s likely no better place in town for lovers of craft beer. As if the tremendous selection isn’t enough, BierCab has a full kitchen, offering tapas, sandwiches, burgers, lighter plates, and main courses (a rarity in Barcelona, where many craft beer bars have a small menu of basic snacks). Try the extra-spicy patatas biercab potatoes, or the grilled wagyu steak with a house-made, hop-spiked chimichurri. [$] 

Carrer de Muntaner, 55
08011 Barcelona, Spain

5. Bar Ramón

Carrer del Comte Borrell, 81, 08015 Barcelona, Spain
crowded wood-paneled bar and restaurant Sam Zucker

A busy, neighborhood bar with a kitsch 1950s rock and roll theme, Bar Ramón has been a local go­-to since 1939. Famous for signature dishes like seared foie gras with beef filet on toast, as well as classic tapas like croquettes and gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), Bar Ramón is a place where you can eat very well on the cheap. Reservations are recommended, but can only be made by phone or in person. [$$]

Carrer del Comte Borrell, 81
08015 Barcelona, Spain

6. Restaurante Mano Rota

Carrer de la Creu dels Molers, 4, 08004 Barcelona, Spain

Chef Bernat Bermudo pays homage to his Catalan upbringing with careful treatment of local products and riffs on traditional dishes, while also drawing heavy culinary inspiration from his wife’s native Peru, where indigenous, Chinese, and Japanese flavors are combined freely. Pick and choose from the likes of pork jowl ds with corn, pears, and miso; soft-shell crab ceviche; and lobster stew with buckwheat udon and steamed egg yolk. [$$$]

Carrer de la Creu dels Molers, 4
08004 Barcelona, Spain

7. Els Sortidors del Parlament

C. Parlament, 53, Barcelona, Catalonia